The biggest cause of global warming is the carbon dioxide released when fossil fuels like oil and coal are burned for energy. So when you save energy, you fight global warming (and save money, of course). Here are some easy steps you can take:
· Raise your voice. We need new laws that will steer our nation toward the most important solutions to global warming — cleaner cars and cleaner power plants. Send a message to your elected officials, letting them know that you will hold them accountable for what they do — or fail to do — about global warming.
· Choose an efficient vehicle: A car that gets 20 miles per gallon will emit about 50 tons of carbon dioxide over its lifetime. A car getting 40 mpg will emit half that much. When buying your next car, pick the least-polluting, most efficient vehicle that meets your needs. Maybe it’s an innovative hybrid that combines a gasoline engine with electric motors (and never needs to be plugged in). Or maybe it’s a wagon instead of an SUV. And over the average lifetime of an American car, a 40-mpg car will save roughly $3000 OR Rs. 117000 in fuel costs compared with a 20-mpg car, so compare fuel economy performance before you buy.
· Drive smart. Get your engine tuned up and keep your tires inflated — both help fuel efficiency. If all Americans kept their tires properly inflated (and a government study shows that many don’t), gasoline use nationwide would come down 2 percent. A tune-up could boost your miles per gallon anywhere from 4 to 40 percent; a new air filter could get you 10 percent more miles per gallon.
· Drive less. When possible, choose alternatives to driving (public transit, biking, walking, carpooling), and bundle your errands together so you’ll make fewer trips.
· Buy energy-efficient appliances. Use your consumer power when buying appliances by shopping for energy-efficient models. You may spend a little more up front, but you’ll save a lot on electricity, and you’ll reduce pollution produced by power plants. Look for the Energy Star label, which identifies the most efficient appliances. You can also use the Energy Guide labels to compare the efficiency of specific models. Remember that refrigerators consume the most electricity in the home. Today’s refrigerators consume less than one-fourth the energy of models built 30 years ago, so an upgrade could mean huge energy savings for your household
· Replace your light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. While compact fluorescents are initially more expensive than the incandescent bulbs most people use, they last 10 times as long. What’s more, a compact fluorescent will lower your energy bills by about $15 a year, and by more than $60 during its life. It will also keep half a ton of carbon dioxide out of the air.
· Weatherize your home or apartment. For a very small investment, you can cut your heating and cooling expenses and reduce the burning of fossil fuels. Use weatherstripping to seal drafts around windows and doors. If a draft comes through electrical outlets or switches on outside walls, install foam draft blockers behind the cover plates. Use covers (inside or outside) on air conditioners during cold months. And make sure your home has adequate insulation. Many older homes don’t have enough, especially in the attic. You can check the insulation yourself or have it done as part of an energy audit, provided by many utility companies. Call your company to see if it offers this service.
· Choose renewable energy. If you live in a state where you can choose your electricity supplier, pick a company that generates at least half its power from wind, solar energy and other clean sources. Even if you don’t have the option to select a supplier, you may still be able to support renewable energy through an option on your electricity bill.
· Buy clean energy certificates. Another way to help spur the renewable energy market and cut global warming pollution is to buy “wind certificates” or “green tags,” which represent clean power you can add to the nation’s energy grid in place of electricity from fossil fuels. For information, see Green-e. And here’s an innovation that’s catching on: calculate the global warming pollution associated with your everyday activities, then buy enough certificates to offset them and become “climate neutral.” Two places to learn how: NativeEnergy’s WindBuilderssm program and Bonneville Environmental Foundation’s Green Tags program.